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Wordpress for History Website
Is this the right solution?

 10:23 pm on Jan 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

First some detailed background ...

During the last eight years a couple of friends and I have created a history website for our local area. It has grown massively over this time with me doing the website and the others doing most of the research and writing. It was created in plain old HTML and I do all the editing. There is no CMS.

It is very popular amongst locals and ex-pats and many people (including some from the media) now use it as a reference. In fact it has become the definitive reference for our local history. Our mission was to create this website for succeeding generations and to document all the local history that we could find. It is entirely self funded, strictly non profit and we do not carry adverts.

We are all now of an age that we feel we need to put an exit strategy in place as we don't want this project to be lost. I need to get some younger people involved in the design and editing side and I need to be able to hand it over to them in the near future. I am the only one who does any editing but I am now 65 years of age and I am not going to be around forever.

My question is would it be a good idea to transfer the site to WordPress? I have never used it before and to be honest I have lost much of my appetite for learning new things in web design. I will admit that I am not the brightest designer around and I don't really do coding. Most of my work has been created with Dreamweaver. What I now need is a simple CMS that is popular, easy to install and future proof within reason.

Is WordPress the answer?



 10:25 pm on Jan 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I should also add that the new site has to be responsive so I am open to paying for a theme. The required layout is quite simple. We only need a simple single or two column layout with a horizontal drop down menu at the top of the page.


 6:25 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

BeeDeeDubbleU: at 60 I am almost in the exact position as you. A good portion of my sites are Not-For-Profit historical preservation groups that want a chronicle of their action preserved as both a membership draw and a record for the future. The pay, if you want to call it that amounts to enough for a good dinner for two with my wife once a year.

One has already been set off on it's own. They copy/paste from MS-Word to the visual editor in WordPress their monthly meeting notice. An I-Frame displays a category on the main page. A tag surrounds the I-frame that the user clicks to read full post. Now all I do are trouble calls for that one :-(

I had been coding all pages in HTML but in 2010-2011 I slowly started adding WordPress blogs to all of their sites. Since then almost all new pages get added to these blogs as blog posts with a few pages added as well. Lots of young pups in the groups with IT generalist knowledge but none with any sophisticated coding skills. Well a few younins can code but they are deeply involved in a similar situation to me with other group's sites under their care.

There a few good responsive WP themes out there, many of them free to under $30 USD. It really comes down to what extra features you want as to what one. Wordpress 2014 (current shipping default theme) isn't bad :-)


 8:57 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's worth getting to know WordPress, or another popular CMS as it will solve all the problems around regular updates. It is also relatively easy to get support, should you have retired to your Caribbean island.

As Hoople says, there are plenty of themes out there. I'd suggest sticking with a common one to help ensure survival.

Spend a little time getting to know WP in the short term as the longer term will pay off.


 9:42 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hoople I don't get any pay, not even a dinner. I even pay the expenses but then I was one of the originators. :)


 9:43 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Does WP require much maintenance?


 12:46 pm on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

WordPress would work quite fine for this. It doesn't require that much attention after setup. You will need to keep up on updates but you can set it up to mostly update itself and keep it's database clean. Find someone that knows WordPress really well and they can help you if you need it.

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